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Are Leaning Chimneys Dangerous?


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Homeowners are often surprised to learn that a leaning chimney can signal a foundation problem. After all, one structural feature is at the top of the house, while the other is at the bottom. Still, when problems emerge with your North or South Carolina home’s foundation, one of your first indications might be the chimney’s position!

Some leaning chimneys are due to roof damage. But if the roof and its supports are in good condition, your best strategy is to contact a foundation specialist like Carolina Foundation Solutions. Our trained and experienced foundation repair contractors evaluate the issue and determine which of our foundation services can resolve the problem and protect your home.

Why Is My Home’s Chimney Leaning?

Chimneys are typically built on separate foundations that connect to a house’s main foundation. If the chimney foundation settles or shifts due to issues like soil condition, poor construction, and water damage, it can cause the chimney to tilt or lean. The strain can eventually cause the chimney to crack or pull away from the rest of your house.

Other telltale signs that your leaning chimney relates to the foundation are:

  • Undersized or missing footing
  • Shifting soil
  • Poor soil quality
  • Improper water drainage
  • Poor footing construction

Dangers of Leaning Chimneys

Your home’s chimney is one of its heaviest and most structurally significant components. As it begins to lean or tilt away from the house, it can create a domino effect of minor and major structural problems, including:

  • Structural damage: Wall, ceiling, and floor cracks are common signs that a leaning chimney is stressing a home’s surrounding structure. In extreme cases, this stress can lead to partial collapse. Another risk is toppling bricks crashing onto your house and damaging the roof.
  • Water damage: Interior water leaks from a tilted chimney can sometimes lead to rotting wood, mold growth, and other water damage.
  • Fire hazards: When a leaning chimney pulls away from the rest of the house, the gaps or cracks can allow embers and heat to escape, potentially igniting surrounding items that cause a house fire.
  • Carbon monoxide leaks: A non-functioning chimney can allow combustion or toxic gases like carbon monoxide to seep into the house, leading to untreated poisoning or even death.
  • Decreased property value: If you hope to sell your home now or at some future date, structural issues like a leaning chimney and cracked foundation can turn off potential buyers and even lower your asking price.

Stabilizing a leaning or tilting chimney as quickly as possible prevents these and other damage and dangers.

What To Do if Your Chimney Is Leaning

Repairing a leaning chimney is a complicated job that’s rarely, if ever, a DIY project. Common homeowner fixes like caulking and other construction fillers can’t bear a chimney’s size and weight. At best, these solutions temporarily keep some moisture at bay.

How to approach chimney repair depends on the type and level of damage. Options range from spot repairs that fix a chimney section to complete reconstruction. Professional foundation repair using helical piers, pins, or concrete slab lifting and leveling can restore the visual appeal and structural soundness by fixing a leaning chimney.

It’s essential to have a leaning chimney problem dealt with immediately, even if it seems minor, as many dangerous situations might occur. A professional, on-site evaluation from Carolina Foundation Solutions helps you precisely determine the problem and how to proceed.

Why Choose Carolina Foundation Solutions for Chimney Services?

For over 20 years, Carolina Foundation Solutions has been helping North and South Carolina homeowners solve their leaning and tilting chimney issues. As a trusted and professional foundation contractor, we help ensure that foundation problems at your home don’t turn into sometimes disastrous structural matters.

Ready to learn more? Call the Carolina Foundations Solutions team today at (877) 770-7050 to discuss your options or schedule a free estimate.

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